Friday, September 29, 2006

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Are we "fed propaganda and conspiracy theories that blame others"?

September 19, 2006

President Bush Addresses United Nations General Assembly
United Nations
New York, New York

Imagine what it's like to be a young person living in a country that is not moving toward reform. You're 21 years old, and while your peers in other parts of the world are casting their ballots for the first time, you are powerless to change the course of your government. While your peers in other parts of the world have received educations that prepare them for the opportunities of a global economy, you have been fed propaganda and conspiracy theories that blame others for your country's shortcomings. And everywhere you turn, you hear extremists who tell you that you can escape your misery and regain your dignity through violence and terror and martyrdom. For many across the broader Middle East, this is the dismal choice presented every day.

Full Text

Sept 20, using American Supplied Weapons:

A Palestinian girl sits on the rubble of her family home after it was flattened in an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah. A Palestinian was killed by Israeli army fire in the northern Gaza Strip, security officials said.(AFP/Said Khatib)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"fundamental difference between Christianity" and Islam?

One should not judge a religion or philosophy just by actions of its practitioners. It would be ludicrous, opportunistic to use actions of self proclaimed leader of Islam Bin Ladin, or born again George W Bush as representative of Islam or Christianity, religions that are practices by millions of people. But the words of its scholars on the other hand opens a window into the current interpretation and mind set of the religions.

In a homecoming speech to his native homeland, Germany, Pope Benedict XVI quotes Byzantine empire....

"The emperor comes to speak about the issue of jihad, holy war," the Pope said. "He said, I quote, 'Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'" Benedict added "I quote" twice to make it clear these were someone else's words.

What is next "I quote" twice from Adolf Hitler statements on Jews and Gypsies?

"Jihad" has a simple meaning, it means struggle. Nancy Reagan called for "War on Drugs" in Arabic that would be called Jihad against drugs. There has been war on illiteracy, that would be Jihad against illiteracy. Right now people of New Orleans, and Lebanon have a struggle to rebuild their communities, that would be Reconstruction Jihad. And yes, there are some in the Islamic world that feel their countries are being occupied, the resources being taken away against their will, they have called for Jihad against the invaders.

He also says:

...fundamental difference between Christianity's view that God is intrinsically linked to reason (the Greek concept of logos) and Islam´s view that "God is absolutely transcendent." Benedict said that Islam teaches that God's "will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality." The risk he sees implicit in this concept of the divine is that the irrationality of violence can potentially be justified if someone believes it is God's will. "As far as understanding of God and thus the concrete practice of religion is concerned, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma which nowadays challenges us directly. Is the conviction that acting unreasonably contradicts God's nature merely a Greek idea, or is it always and intrinsically true?"

I am not sure on what logos his Holiness makes a claim that there is any historical "logos" in Christianity. Wasn't it the Chaotic church that was prosecuting the Galilee for reasoning that earth is round? Evne today, isn't it the Catholic church that is against the basic common sense issues as contraceptive and aids prevention?

May the victims of the Christian atrocities, the South American Indian culture that was devastated by the invading Catholics, the victims of the Spanish inquisitions, the victims of the crusaders, the witch hunts, the world wars....... one day will find comfort in that there is "logos" behind the christian atrocities.

It is far more interesting to compare the comments of the Pope Benedict with that of a Islamic scholar, former Iranian president Seyed Mohammad Khatami, in a speech he delivered at the Washington National Cathedral, he said:

"Jesus is the prophet of kindness and peace. Muhammad is the prophet of ethics, morality and
grace. Moses is the prophet of dialogue and exchange," he said. "It's good at the present time,
where war, violence and repression is so prevalent across the world, for all of us who are
followers of God's religion to pursue all efforts for the establishment of peace and security."

What is evident is that in the eye of an Islamic scholar, there is no putting down the Christianity or Judaism. For the pope it appears as if Islam is a nuisance that he just needs to deal with. Where as for A Muslim scholar he accepts Christianity and Judaism and feels that his interpretation is closer to reality. It appears that at least as far as the scholars are concern, the Catholic church is stuck in Byzantine times, while Islam has moved on with sensibilites that are required in the Global Village.

Full text of Khatami Speech is available at: National Cathedral Web Site

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

After 5 years of War on Terror....

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania, took the floor after Reid's comments and denounced them.

[After five years of fighting the "war on terror"...]"The very people that planned the attacks are the people who are in Iraq -- al Qaeda in Iraq -- causing that sectarian violence," he said. "Should we ignore that, I ask the senator from Nevada?"


Monday, September 11, 2006

"We are in much better shape"

Interview on CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
September 10, 2006

QUESTION: So looking back with hindsight -- obviously all of us are smarter with hindsight -- no weapons of mass destruction, absolutely no connection to the 9/11 plot from Saddam Hussein; is that right?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, it depends on how you think about 9/11. I think we've all said Saddam Hussein, as far as we know, had no knowledge of, no role in, the 9/11 plot itself. But if you think that 9/11 was just about al-Qaida and the hijackers, then there is no connection to Iraq. But if you believe, as the President does and as I believe, that the problem is this ideology of hatred that has taken root, extremist ideology that has taken root in the Middle East, and that you have to go to the source and do something about the politics of that region, it is unimaginable that you could do something about the Middle East with Saddam Hussein sitting in the center of it threatening his neighbors, threatening our allies, tying down American forces in Saudi Arabia. We are in much better shape to build a different kind of Middle East with Saddam Hussein gone.


Except, Saddam in jail has been "tying down" more American forces than when he was in the palace. How is that in "much better" shape?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

"capacity for violence" and double talk

September 10, 2006

Interview of the Vice President by Tim Russert, NBC News, Meet the Press
NBC Studios
Washington, D.C.

....But it is absolutely the right thing to do, Tim, because if we weren't there, if Saddam Hussein were still in power, the situation would be far worse than it is today.

You'd have a man who had a demonstrated capacity for violence, who'd started two wars, who had, in fact, been involved with weapons of mass destruction, who had every intention of going back to it when the sanctions were lifted. And by this point, especially with Ahmadinejad, living next door in Iran, pursuing nuclear weapons, there is no doubt in my mind that if Saddam Hussein was still in power, he would have a very robust program underway to try to do exactly the same thing. The world is better off because Saddam Hussein is in jail instead of in power in Baghdad. It was the right thing to do, and if we had to do it over again we would do exactly the same thing.

Q Exactly the same thing?


Couple of Interesting points:

President Geroge W Bush and Vice President Cheney "demonstrated capacity for violence" by starting two wars after being in office for only 3 years. It took Saddam over 20 years to start two wars.

Furthermore, just as Saddam would hypothetically pursued a nuclear program against Iran, Bush administration have repeatedly threaten Iran with nuclear weapons, even though, there is no evidence that Iran is working on nuclear weapons.

It is interesting that Vice President is candid in that he says they would do exactly the same thing essentially with or without WMD. We know that Bush administration didn't have any evidence of Iraq WMD programs and fabricated the WMD stories. In a sense, Bush administration would have done exactly the same thing, as it did, since at the time it knew there were no WMD in Iraq.

So the real question is would he fabricate the WMD story again or would he use a different excuse.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Classic Israeli double talk

Ehud Olmert, Israeli prime minister, told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that:

"If it is decided that the area is Lebanese, not Syrian as the U.N. secretary general said in the past, and if Lebanon implements resolutions 1559 and 1701 fully, including disarming Hizbollah, we'll agree to discuss it,"


There are decades old resolutions that calls for Israel to leave occupied territories. Now if every one else implements everything Israel wants, then it would agree to "discuss" its obligation.

Furthermore, we know how Israel deal with people once they are disarmed:

Who does this joker think he is fooling with this nonsense?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Lebannon you can destroy building, but not spirits

Trucks carrying rubble they collected from buildings that were destroyed following Israeli airstrike attacks on the southern suburbs of Beirut, queue along the coast of the southern suburb of Ouzai, south of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2006. Hundreds of trucks lined up on the main coastal highway south of Beirut, to unload the rubble they collected in the southern suburb that was heavily attacked during the 34-day long Hezbollah-Israel war, in the Mediterranean Sea off Ouzai. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Hilter Du Jour

From Democracy Now Radio....

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Yeah, the ADL came out with a statement that Amnesty International is borderline anti-Semitic, and that's pretty conventional from the ADL, that these organizations are anti-Semitic or then, you know, in other cases, they accuse individuals or organizations of being Holocaust deniers. None of this -- first of all, as I said, it's pretty commonplace in these organizations. The Simon Wiesenthal Center recently issued a statement condemning the United Church of Christ for being not borderline anti-Semitic, but functionally anti-Semitic, because they oppose the wall that Israel is building in the Occupied Territories.

Anyone who's a critic of Israel becomes an anti-Semite. And the truth of the matter is, the real anti-Semites, they don't really care about -- or the real Holocaust deniers, which is their other favorite epithet to hurl at people or expectorate at people who are critical of Israel --

So you take the case, you know, now there's a lot of discussion about the Iranian president's statements denying the Nazi Holocaust. Whether he actually did or not literally, I’m not going to get into now. It's not so important. For argument's sake, let's say he did do it. He denied the Nazi Holocaust. Now, you heard Mr. Weiner. He's very fond of Abbas. He says Abbas has nothing to do with the PLO. Now, you take Abbas. Abbas is an authentic Holocaust denier. He wrote his doctoral dissertation denying the Nazi Holocaust. He published it as a book in 1982. He said less than a million Jews were killed during World War II. He denied the Nazi gas chambers. Now there you have a real Holocaust denier. You don't have to really probe the meaning of his words. It's pretty straightforward. Well, he's the American favorite now. Everybody loves Mr. Abbas, because he does the American bidding. So they don't care that he's a Holocaust denier.

Let me just give another pretty indicative example. Take the case of Ronald Reagan. Nowadays many people are fond of Reagan. You listen to rightwing radio, which I listen to all the time, and you listen -- everyone loves Reagan. Everybody forgets Reagan was the one who went to Bitburg, gave the speech saying that the Nazi soldiers, including the Nazi -- the Waffen-SS, were victims, just like the Jews in the concentration camps. That was his famous statement at Bitburg. The ADL, which claims to be so vigilant about Holocaust denial, the ADL gave him their Torch of Liberty Award.

Then, just this past -- two years ago, Berlusconi, the president of Italy --


NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Former president of Italy, gave this speech praising Mussolini and saying all the charges against Mussolini were false, he was basically a good guy. Three weeks -- three weeks after he gave his speech -- and remember, Mussolini passed the Anti-Semitic Laws, at the end of his regime, sent Jews to their death. Three weeks after he gave his speech, the ADL, Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, who is now accusing Amnesty of borderline anti-Semitism, they gave him the distinguished Statesman of the Year Award, had a big gala for him, and even fairly conservative economists like Robert Solow, Paul Samuelson, Modigliani -- okay, they're not conservative by conventional standards -- mainstream economists. They wrote a very irate letter to the New York Times: Why is the ADL giving this guy an award? Well, the answer was simple. Because at that point, he was the only European leader who was very pro -- he was very pro-Israel. They don't care about Holocaust denial. They have no interest in it.

Let me give you one example, just --

AMY GOODMAN: Ten seconds.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Yeah, one example, just from what you were airing a moment ago. You heard the speech by Rumsfeld, where he says that Iraq is like the Nazis in the 1930s. Now, remember, the tenet of the Holocaust industry is, never compare the Holocaust to anything else. Never compare, and if you compare, they say you’re a Holocaust denier. But that side is always comparing. The Mufti of Jerusalem was Hitler. Nasser was Hitler. Saddam Hussein was Hitler. Hezbollah is now Hitler. Iran is Hitler. Hamas is Hitler. Iraq is Hitler. They're the worst Holocaust deniers in the world, by their own definition. They're always comparing.

AMY GOODMAN: Norman Finkelstein, I want to thank you for being with us, professor of political science at DePaul University in Chicago. His new book is called Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History.